Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


God bless you with health, wisdom, and
prosperity in this new year and always!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas
full of Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope!

Above all else, during this season remember to celebrate
the coming of the King of Kings and Prince of Peace,
the Son of God, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

A part of our Advent season tradition is a visit to the
National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows in Belleville, IL,
to enjoy the Way of Lights holiday display and activities.

We also enjoyed the holiday lights and decorations
at the historic St. Louis Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Then it was off to visit family over the holidays!

We spent a few wonderful days with Carol, Paul, and Bradley (Kitty's sister and family) including Christmas eve and morning. As always when we visit with them, the hospitality and the food are incredible! We worshipped together at their church, which included Paul singing and Bradley playing in the hand bell choir!   On Monday, Greg and Brad played seven sports games - some as video games but also some "low hoops" basketball in the basement. Brad got the best of most of the matches.

Christmas afternoon we drove across Michigan to celebrate with Greg's family. Michael, Mandy, and little Sonja hosted us, Greg's parents, and Beth, Dennis, Bryan, and Kevin.
Kevin and Bryan enjoyed playing with Sonja, as did we all.
Once again we enjoyed terrific food and fun playing
foosball, pool, air hockey, and Tripoley.

What a wonderful time of celebrating with and catching up with so much of the family! Thursday came all too soon and the family headed off towards all points of the compass as the new year approaches. We're really looking forward to 2008 and all it will bring.

Most exciting of all, both Kim and Kristy announced during the holiday season that they are expecting again. So by the end of next year there will be five - 5! - grandchildren for us to love and spoil.

God is so good - and we are so thankful!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

An Icy Ride

Winter is settling into Missouri, but at least around here it's been mostly freezing rain and sleet - oh, and cold! Last week Kitty decided to visit with the grandkids in KC, and drove home on Thursday. That turned out to be the same day the latest freezing rain swept across the state.

What is normally about a 4 hour drive became almost twice that. Kitty lost count of all the cars and trucks off of I-70 in the median or ditches. And by the time she finally arrived safely home the Impala was wearing the evidence of her long, slow, cold drive. Two-thirds of the car was covered by a bizarre wavy ice jacket that was between 1/2" to 3/4" thick! After a few minutes in the garage it peeled off the driver's rear view mirror like an ice mold. We may be staying home more often if this keeps up ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving with Family

We spent a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving week in Florida with kids and grandkids and more family than we've seen in quite a while! Kristy and Cameron and Ruth hosted as many as 13 more of us at a time with smiles, hugs, a great house to hang out in, more food than even all of us could eat, and plenty of activities to keep us busy.

With Kim, Doug, Will, and Ella we flew Midwest Airlines from Kansas City to Orlando and then drove to the Tampa area. First up was a trip to the beach, of course, to play in the sand, walk along the shoreline and pier, and take some pictures of the kids and grandkids. Next came a day for the ladies and kids to drive to Kitty's parents' winter home for a visit while the three guys went saltwater fishing on Tampa Bay. No keepers but plenty of fish and a fun time.

A couple of days later Greg's parents flew in from Michigan, followed the next day by Michael, Mandy, and our little niece, Sonja. And to top it off we enjoyed a brief visit from Tine and Rob, Greg's aunt and uncle who were here from the Atlanta area.

(Remember to click the pics for larger images)

Wednesday morning we spent some time taking family portraits at a local park. That was soon followed by the "annual" family tradition of seeing which of the guys could hurt themselves during a pick-up touch football game. This year Mike and Doug barely held on to best Greg and Cameron as time expired. There were too many points scored to keep track - not exactly a defensive game by any measure. But most importantly no injuries other than some tired and sore muscles.
As a family we spent Thanksgiving Day relaxing around the house enjoying the time together, eating food that was incredible in both taste and amount, and watching football and movies on the wall thanks to the projection TV system the kids came up with. So much to be thankful for - so many blessings to enjoy - and the best was just being together.

Greg was the only one of the crowd foolish enough to get up at oh-dark-hundred hours to stand in line just to buy something at one of the very early Friday morning sales. Mike, Mandy, and Sonja were off to the airport for their trip home, while the rest of us spent some time later in the day at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa watching the fish, turtles, stingrays, birds, sharks and much more. Then it was time for the little ones to say good-bye to Oma and Opa as their visit came to a close.

Saturday was a warm and wonderful day at Downtown Disney in Orlando entertaining the kids before Kim, Doug, Will, and Ella and the two of us winged our way home to Missouri. We landed in Kansas City just in time to listen to the last quarter of the Mizzou-KU football game. Actually, we were more interested in keeping warm during the drive from the airport to the house as we were greeted by 20-degree temperatures!

What a blessed holiday week with so many family members!
A very Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

For more Thanksgiving memories click on these family blog sites:
Kristy and Cameron -- Kim and Doug -- Mandy and Michael

Friday, November 23, 2007

Annual Mexico Mission Trip

Over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Kitty and Greg went to Mexico with 11 other people from our church to again build a home for a family in need. This year we were joined by teams from two other Midwestern churches and together we built a double-sized home for a larger family with four young kids.

It was hot, it was sandy (the van got stuck a dozen times!), the days were long, the work was tiring, but ... it was fun, it was worthwhile, it was amazing, it was a blessing!

The new home, family, and crew ... the old "house" (tent & shed) ...

... mixing the concrete .... framing the walls .... personal time ...

... wall panels go up .... the roof is added .... applying the stucco ...

... children's home visit .... kids in class .... jumping rope with Kitty

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ruth's 1st Birthday!

We were blessed to celebrate Ruthie's first birthday with her and Kristy and Cameron and many friends in Tampa the first week of October. Wow! She was walking and "talking" and growing up so fast! What a great party with games and presents and food and ...
well, just watch the video:

Seems like all of our grandkids love playing in the water. And taking walks. And snuggling up in Mema Kitty's lap. And so much more than what we could fit into this short video. For several wonderful days we played with Ruth and got to know her while mom and dad spent a couple of evenings out. She loves the radio - and loud! - so she can dance and sing!! But the time went by quickly and we had to say farewell until we can be together again for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just cruisin'

Yes, that's right ... we were able to get away for a second cruise this year! We had such a good time on the Adventure of the Seas back in February, we went aboard for another 7-day cruise to some of the eastern Caribbean islands. From San Juan, Puerto Rico, we sailed to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and back to San Juan.

For a fall cruise (it is hurricane season, after all) the weather was just great! A few rain showers and even a nighttime storm with lightning and thunder, but the days were mostly sunny and warm. We had wonderful companions for dinner each evening and on the various island excursions, which always adds to the fun of the voyage.

This really is such an enjoyable great way to vacation, with options to relax or be as busy as we want each day. Kitty decided we'd cut down on the number of photos this trip, so we don't really have much to post. However, we did take a new snorkeling camera setup, so we've put up some pics of fishies and scenery for you. As much as we enjoy the water (yes, even salt water), you know this has become one of our favorite activities on these cruises. The underwater world is just so amazing and surprising! And for the most part - very peaceful. Just the prescription when you're getting away from the everyday busyness at home.

After the cruise we flew to Tampa to celebrate Ruthie's first birthday with Kristy, Cameron, and many of our friends there!